Sports legend speaks out
After Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ 19-percent reelection victory in 2022, his cheerleaders praised him as the Republican Party’s best chance to move on from former President Donald Trump in 2024. DeSantis, they argued, brings an ultra-MAGA platform to the table, but with more self-discipline and minus Trump’s legal baggage.
But so far, DeSantis’ presidential campaign has been a huge disappointment to Republicans. A CBS News/YouGov poll released on August 20 shows DeSantis, the GOP primary’s second-place candidate, trailing Trump by 46 percent.
Basketball icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar offers some Trump/DeSantis analysis in a scathing SubStack column published on August 21. But he doesn’t get into the reasons why DeSantis is trailing Trump so badly in poll after poll.
Instead, Abdul-Jabbar — known for his years with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers — argues that Trump and DeSantis are competing to show who can be the most racist.
Abdul-Jabbar draws a parallel between DeSantis’ attacks on suspended Florida State Attorney Monique H. Worrell and Trump’s attacks on Fulton County, Ga. District Attorney Fani Willis. Worrell and Willis are both Black women.
“Worrell is Florida’s only Black female state attorney, so by suspending her, DeSantis is making it clear that he can control all Black activists as well as unruly women,” Abdul-Jabbar laments. “She was elected with 67 percent of the vote, which signals to DeSantis’ base that he’s not bound by voters’ preferences, especially Black voters.”
The NBA champion continues, “His accusations that she was soft on crime do not hold up under examination, but the people he’s appealing to don’t want to examine. They want Daddy DeSantis to make the scary Black people go away and to take uppity women, whiny LGBTQ+ people, and dirty immigrants with them. Daddy DeSantis has one rule: As long as you live under my state or country, you will follow my rules — or get kicked out of the house.”
Abdul-Jabbar goes on to note that Willis “has received numerous death threats” from Trump supporters. Willis is prosecuting Trump and 18 of his allies for their efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in her state.
Trump continues to falsely claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him — a lie that has been repeatedly debunked.
In an Aug. 15 post on his Truth Social platform, Trump wrote, “They never went after those that Rigged the Election. They only went after those that fought to find the RIGGERS!” And Abdul-Jabbar, like former Trump White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah Griffin, believes it is no coincidence that “riggers” rhymes with a racial slur. The conservative Griffin told CNN’s Jake Tapper, “With Trump, you don’t need to look for a dog whistle — it’s a bullhorn when it comes to race. And I do think that’s deliberate.”
Abdul-Jabbar argues, “Trump defenders will undoubtedly offer up theatrical shocked expressions that such an innocent word is misconstrued by the emotional snowflakes, all the while trying hard to hide their knowing smirks. But we only have to ask ourselves why Trump is the preferred presidential candidate of white supremacists and racists? What do they hear when he speaks that assures them he’s on their side when it comes to promoting racism? “
Abdul-Jabbar adds, “His own former communications director argues that Trump knowingly is sending a racist message to his followers, who are enemies of democracy. Trump’s tactic is to broadcast a threat to Americans: If you come after me, there will be violence.”